Valtteri Bottas defends Max Verstappen amid controversy, blames Red Bull

Max Verstappen has been subject to criticism following his refusal to follow team orders in Sao Paulo.

The usually harmonious Red Bull camp currently finds itself embroiled controversy following the Brazilian Grand Prix, after their driver pairing of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez disagreed over team orders.

Perez finds himself in a tight battle with Charles Leclerc for second place in the drivers’ championship, while Verstappen has nothing to nothing to fight for, and with that in mind Red Bull told the Dutchman to give up his position to the Mexican.

The extra points would have helped Perez massively, but Verstappen outright refused to help, telling his team that they know his reasons and that they should never ask him to do such a thing again.

After tempers died down after the race, the two-time world champion explained that a swap of positions was not something that was discussed in the team’s pre-race briefing, with him learning about the idea for the first time on the final lap of the Grand Prix.

READ: Abu Dhabi GP: George Russell left fuming after Sergio Perez incident

Former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has now come to Verstappen’s defence, suggesting that Red Bull’s lack of planning is what caused the drama to unfold the way it did.

“I’ve been in both situations, it depends,” said the Finn.

“With things like this, communication is key. I’ve learned over the years discussing predetermined scenarios often makes things much easier rather than having it happen during the race.

“It comes as a surprise then and the driver is not prepared. That makes it difficult to accept, so communication is the most important.

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“It also depends on the situation. Is it about a position in the championship or are you aiming for that with a certain strategy? All these things come into play.”

Fans have been using Bottas as an example of how to execute team orders correctly, as the Finn allowed then-teammate Lewis Hamilton to pass him at a previous Grand Prix in Hungary, and when the Brit failed to overtake the cars ahead of him, he gave the position back on the final lap.

READ: ‘These people’: Sebastian Vettel unhappy with Red Bull

“Once you understand the situation, it’s okay. Ambiguity can cause problems,” concluded the Alfa Romeo driver.

Red Bull have confirmed that both drivers have sat down to discuss the incident after the race, with Perez and Verstappen both having the opportunity to put across their points of view.

Both drivers were initially very frosty in their post-race interviews, but heading into Abu Dhabi, Verstappen has confirmed that he will do whatever possible to assist his teammate as Perez and Leclerc head into the final race of the season level on points.